Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pea Leaf ...I love you...I really do....

I have been visiting my friend Ju, The Little Teochew and always drooling over her delicious looking food. If you have not been to visit her you must. She inspired me to take a trip to an Asian Supermarket on Saturday to get some supplies to make my own dumplings.Ever since Ju blogged about them, I have been dreaming of them.  Of course my husband and I spent a lovely afternoon wandering around buying so many wonderful things. I have made homemade gyoza before with store bought wrappers. These pics were of my first try. Not perfectly pleated...but not too bad. We had gone to a huge Japanese supermarket that day and my son the future engineer who also studies Japanese and has been to Japan on an exchange program, wanted me to make gyoza in the worst way.
Like his host Mother had made for him....
So I did...His birthday is coming up and he will be home for Spring Break at the beginning of March, so I would like to be able to have some homemade dumplings for him when he gets home. He will love them.


This time I am going to try to make my own dumpling skins. I even bought a little rolling pin to try to do the job...and I got some ready made dumpling skins to have ready in case I screw up! I will report back when I get to that project. I have a new cookbook called "Asian Dumplings",by Andrea Nguyen and I have been reading it from cover to cover. I wish I could be sitting with Ju at her kitchen table making dumplings, but I will think of her when I am making them.

One of my dear friends is Chinese and she introduced me to Pea Leaf( or pea shoots) at a Chinese New Year luncheon some years ago and I have been hooked ever since. Sometimes I crave it. I have to have it....
                                                       I dream about it!!!!!!
I love greens...all kinds of greens, especially Asian greens...but one of my favorite ones is pea leaf. The leaves(shoots) of the snow pea or sugar snap pea. Hard to find unless you go to an Asian market.I have had really tiny baby ones which we eat raw and I love them for salads and for sandwiches.  I got a big bag of them and prepared them simply, with no meat. Just a little oyster sauce, some sesame oil,some garlic,a touch of sugar, and ginger. They more or less steamed briefly with just the water that clung to the leaves, almost like spinach. When we go to our favorite Chinese restaurant we usually have Pea Leaf with shredded chicken. One of my favorite dishes. I also got some wonderful tofu and prepared a simple version of Ma Po Tofu( I cheated and used an already prepared sauce, sorry!)....a little rice and Mike and I were in heaven...
I was so happy to spend the afternoon stocking up on some wonderful ingredients. It is difficult to get the right ground pork for the dumplings in our supermarkets. I bought some and made little packages for the freezer. I found some Shanghai Springroll wrappers, those are in the freezer. I got some new soy sauces , light and dark, and wonderful oyster sauce,bean paste, lots of veggies which were so much less expensive then in my usual supermarkets. Some more things that I can not even remember. We also bought some steamed pork buns which we ate in the car on the way home.
We were both feeling sick with bad colds but happy with all of our purchases...and our adventure. We used to have an Asian supermarket fairly close by to home but it closed. This one is a bit out of the way and I had never been there before. I will be going back for sure.

I have some Shanghai Baby Bok Choy in the fridge for tomorrow and I hope to get some dumplings made
if I can....so I will report back. This was so much fun!
I have no actual recipes to give you because I kind of winged it this time...
But for the Pea Leaf I used this as a guide....
Thanks Ju,  for being so inspirational to me...I love traveling to your world every time I open up your beautiful blog.


  1. What a wonderful post, Linda! I've never had pea shoots before. There's a wonderful Asian market across town - I will have to look for the greens the next time I go!

    Your dumplings look perfectly pleated to me! I have made dumplings before (though they were not as beautiful as yours!) The dough is not difficult - I'm sure you will have no problem making the wrappers from scratch!

    All of your photos are amazing. I'm hungry for each dish you photographed now!! Gorgeous!

  2. Oh meee too! Love pea shoots... I know what you mean about craving them.

    Your pictures are gorgeous Linda (love the deep green contrasting with the Blue & White.)

    Your dumplings look wonderful, and now I'm craving them. Your lucky family!

    Hope you're feeling better. xo

  3. Your dumplings are beautiful. The pea shoots and tofu look yummy too. Is the sauce for the tofu in a packet or in a jar? Is there a particular brand that you like? Is this a vegetarian dish or does it have meat in the dish/sauce? I really like tofu, but have never tried this dish before. Thanks!

  4. A first for me the pea shoots..I will search:)

    It's so cute we are shopping with Little Ju lists:)
    I agree the dumplings look perfectly pleated..I just love those things.. I love steamed dumplings..pan fried Gyozas..steamed..all of it!

    Hope you just feel better and better~

  5. Thanks everyone!
    Monique you are so funny...little Ju lists! So cute!

    Christina...the tofu does have a little bit of ground pork in it. Actually the sauce is from a Japanese and we actually tasted samples that they were preparing in a Japanese market one time. It is called "cook do" by Ajinomoto(http://www.ajinomotofoods.com/Products/CookDo/Mabo_Tofu_Medium_Hot.aspx)...I know it is certainly not authentic but it tasted good and was quick.Because we were not feeling well that day and did not want a big kitchen production. Dinner was on the table in less than 15 minutes. Sometimes life is just that way...I normally do not use prepared things like this, but it was not bad for an emergency.
    It is spicy and we love spicy. I think that Lee Kum Kee also has a sauce in a jar...next time i will make it myself because it is not all that difficult...If you are a vegetarian I am sure you could just leave out the pork and use some mushrooms instead.

  6. Oh Linda, you're so kind! The feeling is mutual. :) I'd love to have a meal in your home! Just look at the food you cooked this time - as authentic as it can possibly get! Beautiful!! I can't wait to see what other amazing dishes you're going to churn out! ;)

  7. LOvely greens ..very very authentic indeed....as good as JU's! and against the blue so beautiful!

  8. I made them once from my garden... but had waited a little too long... they were tough and I never thought about them again... great post... now I want to try them again... and your dumplings were beautiful!!!!

  9. Your dumplings are perfect, Linda. Yum, they are one of my favorite treats. I have a wonderful Asian market not too far away and the next time I'm there I'll check to see if they have pea leaf.

  10. Thanks for the info! Yes, mushrooms probably would go well with this. I checked the "Cook Do" site and it does have chicken fat in the sauce, but will take a look at the Lee Kum Kee site to see what they have. I have a big Chinese cookbook that I don't use enough, so will check out a recipe there too. Think I'll head to my local Asian store soon - this all looks delicious!

  11. Linda, I don't know what looks better, the pea leaves or those dumplings! Now you've got me waiting for dumplings too. Aren't you the brave one to make them from scratch?

    Hurry up.

  12. I love dumplings. Yours look great!

  13. Pea shoots...and perfect pleats!

    These look wonderful. A trip to Chinatown seems to be in my future!!

    Thanks, Linda.


  14. I love both of your showcase - dumplings and pea leaf! A Chinese friend told me the secret ingredient to stir-fry pea leaf is Chinese cooking wine/rice wine. You don't even have to use oyster sauce and it is still so delicious :D I'm doing a pea leaf post soon too...

  15. I've never had pea shoots...am going to search for some tomorrow in our Asian market! And your dumplings are gorgeous. Perfectly pleated if you ask me. I would really love to try to make these. Are you going to post your recipe?
    Hope you are both over your colds soon.

  16. Your dumplings are perfect! Can't wait to hear how the handmade skins turn out.
    The pea shoots look perfectly cooked! Well done! I love pea shoots, the minute spring arrives my Asian market stocks loads, but they move fast.
    Beautiful pics!